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Coronavirus - 14th July


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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jul 14 2020, 09:30

Summary for Tuesday, 14th July

  • France awards health workers pay rises worth €8bn (£7.2bn; $9bn) after a series of protests
  • The number of confirmed global infections since the outbreak began passes 13m
  • In England, face masks will be compulsory in shops from 24 July
  • The UK could see about 120,000 new coronavirus deaths in a second wave of infections this winter
  • California reimposes restrictions on indoor activities including bars and restaurants
  • Singapore's economy plunges by 41% compared to the previous quarter
  • Hong Kong Disneyland to close less than a month after reopening, as the city reimposes distancing rules

Welcome back to our rolling live coverage of the global pandemic as it continues to fundamentally change many aspects of our lives.
Here are the latest updates:

  • Globally more than 13 million people have now been infected with the virus, with a million cases being added in the last week
  • Worrying news out of Hong Kong which will implement new social distancing rules from midnight, as well as close Disneyland again
  • Singapore's economy, one of the first to report second quarter results, has seen a sharp contraction as it enters a technical recession
  • And in England, face masks will be compulsory in shops from 24 July

California reimposes sweeping restrictions

The US state of California has reimposed restrictions on businesses and public spaces amid a spike in infections.
Gavin Newsom, the governor of the most populous state in the US, ordered an immediate halt to all indoor activities at restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, zoos and museums.
In the worst-affected counties, churches, gyms and hairdressers will also close.
The re-imposition of the restrictions comes after a 20% rise in people testing positive in the past two weeks.
California, which has a population of nearly 40 million, has more than 330,000 Covid-19 cases and more than 7,000 deaths.
Read more about the new restrictions here.

Which countries are worst affected?

More than 13 million people have been infected with Covid-19 and that number is rising sharply.

Here are the worst affected countries in terms of overall caseloads:
US: 3,363,056 cases
Brazil: 1,884,967 cases
India: 878,254 cases
Russia: 732,547 cases
Peru: 330,123 cases

Here are the places where the most people have died:
US: 125,605 deaths
Brazil: 72,833 deaths
United Kingdom: 44,915 deaths
Mexico: 35,491 deaths
Italy: 34,967 deaths
This is all according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University

Hong Kong to impose new rules

Hong Kong will impose strict new social distancing measures from midnight Tuesday - as the city sees a new wave of virus infections.
These are some of the new rules that will come into place:

  • Compulsory for those on public transport to wear masks, failing which they face a fine of HK$5,000 ($645; £514)
  • Restaurants will no longer provide dine in services from 18:00 to 05:00
  • Only takeaway will be offered after 18:00

These rules were not implemented during the city's earlier outbreak this year, according to Reuters.
The city's leader Carrie Lam said some of these new measures were "more stringent than in the past" but added that they were crucial to suppressing the latest round of the virus.
Hong Kong recorded 52 new cases on Monday - including 41 locally transmitted cases.

Asia's 'shining star' suffers biggest ever slump

As the global economy braces for a deep downturn triggered by coronavirus lockdown measures, we've just had an early indicator of the depth of the slump.
That's as new figures show that Singapore’s economy plunged into recession in the last quarter.
Economic growth in the city state shrank by 41.2% compared to the previous quarter, the country's biggest contraction on record.
Authorities forecast Singapore's is now heading for its worst recession since independence from Britain in 1965.
Read more here

Where are cases and deaths still rising?

The virus, which causes the respiratory infection Covid-19, was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
It then spread quickly across the globe in the first months of 2020, reaching 12 million confirmed cases by early July.
Europe and North America saw the first major outbreaks in April but as they began to ease, Latin America and Asia started seeing an increase in cases.
North America has seen a resurgence of infections in recent weeks, mostly driven by new outbreaks in the US.
See how the BBC's Visual and Data Journalism team is tracking the global outbreak here .

India's Bangalore heads back into lockdown

The southern Indian city of Bangalore, with a population of more than 8 million people, will go back under lockdown for a week amid rising cases.
India started to ease out of its stringent lockdown in June, but cases across varying regions have continued to spike at different points, prompting some cities and states to reimpose lockdowns or curbs.
A handful of southern states have been in the local news recently as infections have started to steadily climb in the region. Bangalore is the capital of Karnataka state, which has confirmed nearly 40,000 cases.
Starting Tuesday, public transport will be halted, only essential shops will be allowed to remain open and all religious places will be shut, among other restrictions.
With more than 870,000 confirmed cases, India has the third-highest number of infections after the US and Brazil.

Coronavirus surged as nightlife returned in Arizona

Jimmy Flores used to think coronavirus was "fake news" until he got the virus and was in hospital for over a week. He thinks he contracted it from a night out after Arizona's governor lifted stay at home restrictions in May.
But because of the spikes in cases the governor has mandated non-essential business close again.

Coronavirus surged as nightlife returned in Arizona

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jul 14 2020, 09:44

UK headlines this morning

Good morning to everyone just waking up and joining us. Here's a summary of the latest UK coronavirus-related news:

HK Disneyland to close a month after reopening

Hong Kong Disneyland is closing its gates again less than one month after it reopened, following a new coronavirus outbreak in the city.
The theme park was originally closed at the end of January as Covid-19 spread around the world.
The "House of Mouse" decided to reopen the park on 18 June.
But its gates will close again on Wednesday as social distancing measures are reimposed.
Read more here

Why attitudes to masks have changed around the world

Helier Cheung - BBC News
In the past few days, both US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson have been seen wearing masks in public for the first time.
It's a dramatic turnaround - Mr Trump previously mocked others for wearing masks, and suggested some might wear such personal protective equipment to show their disapproval of him, even after the US Centers for Disease Control recommended face coverings.
Meanwhile, the UK government was initially reluctant to advise the general public to wear face coverings, even as other countries in Europe did.
It introduced rules requiring people to wear face coverings on public transport in June, and now says people in England must wear face coverings in shops or face a fine.
Read more from Helier here.

Tokyo appeals for 800 theatregoers to get tested

Health officials in the capital Tokyo are appealing for more than 800 theatregoers to get tested for the virus - after a stage production was found to be the source of dozens of cases.
The production ran between 30 June and 5 July at a theatre in Shinjuku, reported broadcaster NHK.
At least 16 actors, five staff and nine audience members have been infected, said local media reports quoting event organiser Rise Communication Co.
Around 800 audience members are now considered to be at risk.
The theatre says social distancing measures were put in place - and that audiences had their temperatures checked and were required to wear mask, said the NHK report.
Officials are now investigating whether the event was held in line with guidelines.

Historic pay rises for French health workers

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Many health workers took part in protests demanding better pay and working conditions

France has approved pay rises worth €8bn (£7.2bn; $9bn) for health workers, with the government hailing their role in fighting coronavirus.
The deal was signed with trade unions on Monday after weeks of negotiations, and will see wages rise by €183 a month on average.
Health workers have been praised throughout the pandemic with regular displays of public appreciation. But they wanted more than recognition and have held protests to demand pay rises and better funding for hospitals.
The announcement came as the country prepares to celebrate a scaled-down Bastille Day on Tuesday, a national public holiday during which health workers will be celebrated for their efforts during the pandemic.
More than 200,000 infections and 30,000 deaths have been recorded in France, one of Europe's worst-hit countries.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jul 14 2020, 10:06

India's rush for plasma therapy as Covid cases rise

Vikas Pandey - BBC News, Delhi
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Delhi government has urged recovered patients to come forward and donate their plasma

It was the middle of a night in May when Adwitiya Mal's father-in-law complained of difficulty in breathing.
The family doctor checked on him and advised that they wait for a few hours for him to stabilise. But in the early hours, his blood oxygen level had fallen and he had to be rushed to a hospital in Delhi. He was also running high fever.
His condition continued to deteriorate and the doctor asked the family for permission to give him convalescent plasma - one of several investigational therapies being tried in India in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The therapy, which uses the plasma of recovered Covid-19 patients, requires consent from patients and their families.

What went wrong in California?

Just months ago, California was being praised for its response to the pandemic. But now, with a surge in cases, the most populous US state is now having to reverse its easing of lockdown restrictions.
Prof Robert Wachter, the chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told the BBC's Newsday that the state's early successes in fighting the spread of coronavirus meant that it was "appropriate" to begin lifting restrictions.
"But I think people took that as the starting gun for changing behaviour too much. So yes, people were allowed to go out and around, but they were supposed to be wearing masks, they were supposed to be keeping their distance, they were supposed to be avoiding large crowds. And I think too many people got a little bit complacent."
"They saw the tragedies in New York and in Italy and in China and other places, but after three or four months I think people began to get the feeling that 'OK, those are problems that happened there, we have dodged the bullet here, we're going great'," Prof Wachter said, adding that the federal government's mixed messages on masks and preventative measures had added to the confusion.
"Younger people said it's time to go back to normal, and it's clearly not."

Analysis: UK should 'prepare for the worst' this winter

Michelle Roberts - Health editor, BBC News online
The UK could see about 120,000 new coronavirus deaths in a second wave of infections this winter, scientists say.
Asked to model a "reasonable" worst-case scenario, they suggest a range between 24,500 and 251,000 of virus-related deaths in hospitals alone, peaking in January and February.

France holds scaled-down Bastille Day celebrations

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Each year France holds a military parade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on 14 July, to mark the storming of the Bastille prison that day in 1789 – an event that kicked off the French Revolution.
But the coronavirus outbreak has forced authorities to tone down the celebrations. Military aircraft will stage a traditional fly-past, but there will be no parade and no tanks. About 2,000 troops will gather for a ceremony at the Place de la Concorde which will pay tribute to health workers.
The audience - socially distanced - will watch the event from platforms. President Emmanuel Macron has invited the families of caregivers who have died during the pandemic, as well as the health ministers of four countries who took in French patients – Austria, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland.
The event is closed to the public – although it will be televised – and nearby parks will stay shut to stop crowds gathering for the traditional fireworks by the Eiffel Tower this evening. Mr Macron will also give a live broadcast interview after the morning’s ceremony.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jul 14 2020, 10:14

Jammu and Kashmir to reopen for tourism

India's Jammu and Kashmir will open for tourism in phases starting from Tuesday, authorities have said.
According to the guidelines, only those arriving by flights who can produce confirmed hotel bookings and a return ticket will be allowed. Passengers will also have to be tested as they arrive.
The virus has badly affected tourism across the world but the industry was already suffering in the region before the pandemic took hold.
In August 2019, India's government revoked part of the constitution that gives Indian-administered Kashmir special status. The government deployed tens of thousands of troops to quell unrest and enforced a crackdown on communications and placed local politicians under house arrest.
Although phone connections and internet services have since been restored, access remains poor and speeds are below what is common in the rest of India.
The move severely impacted the region's hospitality industry, which employs hundreds of thousands.
Even though authorities have announced that tourists will now be allowed, the city of Srinagar in the region was put under lockdown to curb rising cases on Monday. Jammu and Kashmir has confirmed a little over 10,500 infections so far, according to data from the health ministry.

Iran tightens restrictions in capital after resurgence

Iran has reinstated restrictions in the capital, Tehran, to combat a resurgence of Covid-19.
City authorities announced late on Monday that universities, schools, seminaries, libraries, wedding venues, beauty salons, mosques, cinemas, theatres and museums would be closed for one week, according to local media. Social, cultural and religious ceremonies were also temporarily banned.
Iran has suffered the biggest outbreak of Covid-19 in the Middle East.
The numbers of new infections and deaths have risen steadily since the start of May , after the government allowed businesses, schools and religious sites to reopen.
The health ministry reported 203 new fatalities on Monday, bringing the overall total to 13,032. Another 2,349 people tested positive for the virus.

Warning of UK 'grief pandemic' as millions miss funerals

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Almost 10 million people were not able to attend the funeral of loved ones during the UK's coronavirus lockdown, a report suggests.
The research by the undertakers, Co-op Funeralcare , says restrictions on the number of people attending services during the height of lockdown has meant many people have not been able to grieve properly.
It estimates that 243,000 bereaved families have not been able to put on the funerals they would have wished for their loved ones.
Co-op Funeralcare warns we do not yet know what the long-term psychological effects will be for people who have not been able to say goodbye properly - and it says experts are warning of a "grief pandemic".

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jul 14 2020, 11:10

Face masks on London's public transport, one month on

Tom Edwards - Transport correspondent, BBC London
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If there's one issue that angers commuters, it is other travellers not wearing face coverings.
The new law was introduced on 15 June and for the past month it has been mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport.
So is it working?
The authorities say 90% of people abide by it but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that some are still not wearing a face covering and there are many examples of people not wearing the coverings correctly.
The authorities have described social pressure playing a part in getting people to wear a mask - in the same way the alcohol ban on transport worked.
British Transport Police and Transport for London have issued 59 fines to people not complying with the rule.
Read more here

Dozens of Michigan cases linked to house party

At least 43 people in the US state of Michigan have tested positive for coronavirus after attending a party.
Washtenaw County announced on Monday that there had been an increase in local infections following a large house party on 2-3 July, "with additional events and workplace exposures occurring in the following days".
Most of the new cases have been among young people aged 15-25.
Almost 70 other people have been identified as close contacts of those infected, with officials urging anyone who was exposed to self-quarantine for 14 days and test if they display symptoms.
More than 6,000 people have died with coronavirus in Michigan so far, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Face coverings in England: Will customers be happy?

BBC Radio 5 Live
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Face coverings steam up your glasses, they're uncomfortable, they infringe on personal freedom, say Radio 5 Live listeners - and that's before the matter of enforcement.

Andy, in Manchester, says the discomfort means he's less likely to go to the shops and now worries shopping must carry a higher risk than he thought. He doubts the increase in footfall that shops need will follow.
Another listener with a long list of questions pleads for more guidance. Can we keep them in our pocket? How often should we replace them? Are disposable ones better?
But there's reassurance from Scotland, where face coverings have been mandatory in shops since Friday.
Pamela, who runs a clothes shop in East Kilbride, says most of her customers have been happy to wear one - only one refused because they didn't like it.
She says it's a habit you need to get into and she'll be giving uncovered customers gentle reminders.
Roz, a nurse in nearby Glasgow, says that, if she can wear a mask for her 13-hour shifts, it's not a big issue to wear one for half an hour around the shops - "You have to think of the greater good."

White House targets Fauci

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US infectious disease chief Dr Anthony Fauci - who emerged early on as a widely recognised face of the US virus response - is now being targeted by the Trump administration.
The White House has been increasingly critical of Dr Fauci, and on Sunday, an official shared a list detailing past apparent erroneous comments.
His changing advice on masks and remarks on Covid-19's severity are among the points from the White House.
Dr Fauci has contradicted President Donald Trump's comments on the pandemic a number of times, pushing back on the president's claims that the outbreak is improving and attributing hasty state reopenings to the recent surges.
The move to undercut him comes as the US continues to see surges in Covid-19.
Here's what else Fauci has said in the past

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jul 14 2020, 13:49

Galapagos reopens and other news from Latin America

  • A week after he announced he had tested positive for coronavirus, Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, will take another test to see if he is virus-free. Mr Bolsonaro, who has belittled the risk posed by Covid-19, said on Monday that he felt "very good". "If everything is fine, I'll go back to work. Of course, if it's the other way around, I'll wait a few more days," he added. Brazil is the second worst-hit country in the world and is expected to reach two million confirmed cases later this week.
  • In Bolivia, another member of the cabinet has joined a growing list of politicians with Covid-19. Foreign Minister Karen Longaric said on Monday she had tested positive for the virus. The ministers of health, justice, mining, economy, as well as interim President Jeanine Áñez, the chief of staff of the armed forces and the head of the central bank have also been infected. The number of infections in Bolivia - just under 50,000 cases - is relatively low compared with its neighbours Peru and Chile, which have six times as many.
  • Some good news from the Galapagos islands, where tourists sites are reopening today. The environment minister of Ecuador said visitors would have to wear masks and use disinfectant gel when touring the Unesco World Heritage site and visits to busy places may be restricted to three hours

Millions go back into lockdown

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As we've already reported, California has had to reimpose sweeping coronavirus restrictions after a spike in infections.
Although America's most populous state was initially praised for its handling of the pandemic, its governor has now ordered all restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, zoos and museums to close .
And it's not the only place to do so.
The southern Indian city of Bangalore has been placed under a week-long quarantine, while the Iranian capital Tehran has brought back similar restrictions for seven days.
In Hong Kong, meanwhile, social distancing rules have been brought in, including some "more stringent than in the past", according to the city's leader. The territory's Disneyland is shutting too, a month after it reopened.
The renewed closures come amid warnings from the World Health Organization that "too many countries [were] headed in the wrong direction" .

'You can't close the border when we live on both sides'

Debbie Jackson - BBC Scotland
People who live and work across the Scottish border say they are worried about talk of closing it to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Many residents of Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland, and Cumbria in England, live their lives on both sides of the border, crossing it regularly to shop, see family and go to work.
The possibility of closing it - and maybe imposing quarantine restrictions on people coming from England - has emerged since Scotland's infection and death rate began falling at a faster rate than in England.
Vicky Muirhead owns two branches of a children's swimming franchise, either side of the border. She's preparing to reopen the same business with two different sets of rules.
Read our full story here

Who will enforce face masks in shops?

As we've been reporting, from 24 July it will be mandatory to wear face masks and coverings in England's shops , bringing the country in line with Scotland and other European nations like Spain, Italy and Germany.
Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £100.
But some retailers and police officers have expressed concern about how the rules will be enforced in practice.
The leader of the organisation which represents police officers across England and Wales said face masks should be a “condition of entry” in shops, adding that enforcing the rules “can’t all be left to policing".
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, tweeted: “Shops can very easily make it a condition of entry that a customer is wearing a mask - that's the least I would expect. Look forward to seeing the legislation!”
But Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The guidance so far is that our store colleagues are not really to get involved. It's a police matter to enforce rather than for them to get involved, potentially, in any public disturbances."
The head of the British Chambers of Commerce has called on the government to provide "absolute clarity" to retailers on the new rules.
Adam Marshall, director general of the BCC, said: "It's important for them to know as well that they will not be responsible for enforcing these requirements - that that will be a job for the police."

Other areas under renewed lockdowns

Earlier we reported on a number of places which have announced renewed lockdowns as cases rise. They follow a move towards localised restrictions elsewhere in the world as the pandemic continues:

  • Africa: Morocco's northern city of Tangiers went back into lockdown on Monday, while Madagascar put the Analamanga region - home to the capital Antananarivo - under strict measures last week. South Africa, meanwhile, has brought back a night-time curfew
  • Latin America: Areas of the Colombian capital Bogotá, which has been at the centre of the country's outbreak, were placed under a two-week lockdown on Monday
  • Australia: The country's second-biggest city, Melbourne, last week told its five million residents to stay at home for six weeks. The state of Victoria, where the city is located, also closed its borders with New South Wales and South Australia
  • Middle East: Both Israel and the West Bank have reintroduced restrictions in response to a rise in cases
  • Asia: A district of the Philippine capital Manila is expected to go into lockdown for two-weeks in the coming days, an official was quoted as saying by AFP news agency. Uzbekistan has been in a second lockdown since 10 July, with measures extending until 1 August

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jul 14 2020, 13:58

Man who started Beijing outbreak discharged from hospital

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
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"Uncle Xicheng" appeared on TV earlier

A 52-year-old man who began a wave of coronavirus last month in China's capital Beijing has been discharged from hospital.
The man surnamed Tang, who has been affectionately termed "Uncle Xicheng", contracted Covid-19 on 11 June and was the first patient in an outbreak that saw 335 people testing positive. This outbreak has been linked to the city's largest wholesale market, Xinfadi.
"Uncle" is a common term of affection, and Xicheng is the name of the district he lives in.
Tang spent 33 days being treated for Covid-19 and has been praised by state media for providing the authorities with full transparency over his movements and the people he came into contact with.
Media want others to learn from him, and not be afraid of hiding their symptoms, in the event that other regions in China experience similar outbreaks.
Earlier, he appeared on the Beijing TV broadcaster thanking the medical workers who treated him, and offering words of encouragement to other patients. There are currently 205 still receiving treatment in the city, but nobody has tested positive now for eight consecutive days.
The city's authorities regard this wave of cases as having been brought under control, thanks to swift lockdown measures and aggressive testing.

How did Florida get so badly hit by Covid-19?

Ritu Prasad - BBC News, Fort Myers, Florida
Like many Covid-19 stories, it started with a dry cough.
Fever, loss of taste and chest pain followed Sanjay Bharath's diagnosis in early March.
Bharath, who is a hospital nurse in South Florida, says he caught the virus from a patient when the Covid-19 screening process for admissions was less strict. He was told to self-quarantine two days later.
At 34 years old, Bharath does not fall into a virus-vulnerable age group. But 14 days after that first contact, he had coughed up blood and checked into the hospital.
Two days later, on 26 March, he was intubated.
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Bharath, who is a hospital nurse in South Florida, says he caught the virus from a patient

Florida has been averaging nearly 10,000 new cases per day for the last week. On 12 July, the state broke the national record by reporting 15,300 cases in a single day.
Along with Texas and Arizona, the Sunshine State has fast become one of the regions with the highest surges in the country.
As cases began rising, Governor DeSantis in June reversed his decision to allow bars to reopen. But he has refused to require masks statewide, though local leaders in major cities like Miami have done so, and has joined President Donald Trump in emphasising the importance of keeping the economy open.
Read more about how younger people in Florida are being affected by the outbreak

Jailed Egyptian journalist dies of Covid-19

A prominent Egyptian journalist has died of Covid-19, his daughter has said.
Mohamed Monir was arrested last month after appearing on the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera, which is banned by the Egyptian government.
He was charged with joining a terrorist group, spreading false news, and misusing social media, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which said that Monir had died in an isolation ward on Monday after falling ill.
Egypt is ranked 166 out of 180 countries for press freedoms by Reporters Without Borders, which describes the country as "one of the world’s biggest jailers of journalists".
The country has reported almost 4,000 deaths and 83,000 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Macron backs face masks in public indoor spaces

After the toned-down celebrations to mark Bastille Day in France this morning, we are now hearing from President Emmanuel Macron who has given a rare television interview.
Macron says he would like to see face masks "mandatory in all [public] enclosed spaces", and that this could come into effect on 1 August.
The president also says the government has indications that the coronavirus outbreak is "accelerating a bit" in the country, one of the worst-hit in Europe with close to 200,000 cases and nearly 30,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
As we reported earlier, the Bastille Day events this year had to be modified because of the pandemic. The annual celebration marks the storming of the Bastille prison on 14 July 1789, an event that kicked off the French Revolution.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jul 14 2020, 16:40

Second wave planning under way in parts of UK

As we have reported today, scientists are warning a second wave of coronavirus in the UK could be worse than the first .
Experts are concerned the NHS could come under extreme pressure, not just from a resurgence of coronavirus but also from seasonal flu and a backlog of regular, non-coronavirus workload.
Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said the planning the report recommends is being "taken very seriously" by the Scottish government.
Scotland's Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, adds: "That planning for autumn and winter is well under way in NHS Scotland and with our colleagues in social care.
"Our boards have been advised to hold a capacity to deal with an upsurge in Covid cases, both in beds and ICU [intensive care units]. "We are also factoring into that the viruses that come with autumn and winter - flu and other respiratory conditions."
Meanwhile, Cumbria County Council has also said it is working with the care sector and the NHS on a plan for responding to a second wave.
The council's director of public health, Colin Cox, said the threat of a second wave really worried him.
"It's going to be really important to respond should we start to see a second rise," he added.

Virgin Atlantic secures £1.2bn rescue plan

Virgin Atlantic has agreed a rescue package worth £1.2bn ($1.5bn) with its shareholders and investors, as the airline seeks to shore up its finances beyond the coronavirus pandemic.
The British airline said the five-year restructuring plan would come into effect later this summer after it was supported by a majority of shareholders.
The package includes financial support from its main shareholder, Virgin Group, and outside investors, including US hedge fund Davidson Kempner Capital Management.
Virgin Atlantic’s CEO, Shai Weiss, said the company had faced the toughest six months in its 36-year history during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have taken painful measures, but we have accomplished what many thought impossible,” he said on Tuesday.
The airline said has cut more than 3,500 jobs as part of a cost-cutting drive that included the closure of its base at London Gatwick.
Virgin Atlantic had initially hoped to obtain emergency funding from the UK government, but ministers said any subsidies would be a last resort.
Read more

Deaths up by 26 in England, none in Scotland and NI

A further 26 people who tested positive for Covid-19 have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 29,103, NHS England has said.
Patients were aged between 49 and 94 years old, and one person, aged 71, had no known underlying health conditions.
Scotland and Northern Ireland have recorded no new deaths from the virus.
There were two more deaths recorded in Wales.
Separate UK-wide figures will be released later.

Sturgeon still won't rule out quarantining travellers from England

Nicola Sturgeon has again refused to rule out the option of quarantining people travelling from England to Scotland to control the spread of coronavirus.
At her daily briefing, Scotland's first minister said she hoped it wouldn’t be necessary and rejected a suggestion that it was inevitable if the prevalence of the virus remained greater in England than Scotland.
Looking ahead to the opening of tourism businesses tomorrow, Ms Sturgeon said she wanted visitors to be able to enjoy Scotland, but said they must stick rigorously and rigidly to the guidelines designed to suppress the virus.
She insisted there was not an anti-English bone in her body, saying those who suggested otherwise were just plain wrong.
Earlier this month, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the possibility of quarantining people entering Scotland from other parts of the UK as "astonishing and shameful".
He was responding to Ms Sturgeon saying "all options" must remain open should coronavirus infection rates "diverge" between different parts of the UK.

Thailand cancels arrivals after Egyptian tests positive

Thailand has cancelled all international flights after members of an Egyptian military delegation failed to observe quarantine, with one soldier later testing positive for coronavirus.
The 31-strong group visited a shopping centre in Rayong province during a two-day stopover in the country earlier this month, a Thai official said, adding that almost 1,900 locals who were in the same centre had now been ordered to quarantine at home.
Taweesilp Visanuyothin, the spokesman for Thailand's Covid-19 response, blamed the Egyptian embassy for arranging hotel accommodation for the visitors, instead of ensuring they went into quarantine, according to the Bangkok Post.
Thailand has reported fewer than 60 coronavirus deaths and 3,200 cases.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jul 14 2020, 16:50

US health experts defend Fauci

Health experts have defended US infectious disease chief Dr Anthony Fauci amid criticisms from the White House.
Tensions between Dr Fauci - a key voice in the US pandemic response - and the president have been rising and, on Sunday, a Trump administration official shared a list detailing past apparent erroneous comments by the public health expert, including his changing guidance on masks.
Though officials have denied any conflict between Dr Fauci and President Trump, medical experts have rebuked the White House over the memo.
The Association of American Medical Colleges said taking Dr Fauci's quotes "out of context to discredit his scientific knowledge and judgment will do tremendous harm to our nation's efforts to get the virus under control, restore our economy and return us to a more normal way of life".
The Infectious Diseases Society of America said: "If we have any hope of ending this crisis, all of America must support public health experts, including Dr Fauci, the preeminent infectious diseases scientist and public health expert in the country and the best person for the job."
Dr Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard University Global Health Institute, tweeted: "Sidelining Dr Fauci makes the federal response worse. And it's the American people who suffer."
Former Centers of Disease Control Director Tom Frieden has weighed in on the administration's critiques of the health agency in general, saying: "If there was that much focus attacking the virus that causes Covid instead, we’d all be safer."
Read more about this story here.

Florida sees new daily death toll high

The US state of Florida has reported a new record high of 132 additional deaths on Tuesday, as well as more than 9,100 new confirmed cases. The total death toll is now over 4,400.
As cases surge in the wake of business reopenings and national holidays, the Sunshine State has fast become one of the regions with the highest surges in the country, along with Texas and Arizona .
On 12 July, the state broke the national record by reporting 15,300 new cases in a single day.
Florida only hit the 100,000 case mark on 22 June, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Just 13 days later, that number had doubled. Now, there are more than 287,000 cases.
The positive test rate - which indicates how much the virus is spreading, taking into account testing increases - is nearing 20%, the highest since early March when the pandemic hit the US.
That's also four times the standard for reopening set by the World Health Organization, and double the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control.
Read more about what's happening in Florida here

'Whisky wipe-out' and other news from Africa

Coronavirus - 14th July 0299a211
President Rajoelina takes a swig of the Covid-Organics tonic, the efficacy of which is unprove

Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina, who made headlines in May touting a plant-based tonic cure for Covid-19 , has announced the deaths of several high-profile figures from coronavirus, including two MPs, a Unicef representative and a WHO doctor. Soldiers have been deployed in the capital, Antananarivo, to enforce a 15-day lockdown, following a spike in cases.
Kenya’s largest maternity hospital tested 290 members of staff for coronavirus and found 41 of them had Covid-19. The authorities at Pumwani Maternity Hospital in the capital, Nairobi, have sought to calm fears and say those infected are isolating and receiving treatment at home. Meanwhile, churches and mosques in the deeply religious country will also be able to reopen from today, four months after their closure - though some are opting not to do so.
The reinstatement of a ban on alcohol in South Africa prompted some thieves to target an off-licence in Cape Town. But they reportedly left the wine untouched - opting only for hard stuff. “They basically emptied the whiskies out,” Mark Kallend, shop owner of Liquor Bothasig, told the News24 site. It is hoped the ban will take pressure off the health system, which deals with many trauma cases caused by alcohol-fueled violence.
A girls’ high school in Ghana’s capital, Accra, has been hit by an outbreak, with 55 confirmed cases. The girls have been transferred to treatment and isolation centres. The West African country allowed final-year students back into classrooms last month to allow them to sit exams. Meanwhile, President Nana Akufo-Addo is still in quarantine as a precaution after a member of his close circle tested positive for the virus last week.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jul 14 2020, 18:25

Tighter restrictions could be introduced in Blackburn

Coronavirus - 14th July 2f719210
Mass testing in Blackburn began at the weekend following a spike in infections

Tighter lockdown restrictions could be introduced in Blackburn in Lancashire, following a spike in coronavirus cases.
People in the town could be asked to limit visitors from another household to two. Elsewhere in England, two households up to a maximum of 30 people can meet indoors and overnight stays are allowed.
Blackburn's public health director said stronger measures would be imposed in two weeks if the number of cases did not fall.
Mass testing began at the weekend after 61 new cases sprang up within a week.
Meanwhile, residents of Leicester, where tighter restrictions have been in place since the end of June, have been told they will find out this Thursday whether the measure will be lifted or extended .

Belgium reports zero deaths for first time since March

Belgium has reported zero deaths related to Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, the first time the country has done so since the start of the pandemic in March.
The country’s death total remained at 9,787 on Tuesday, the 12th highest in the world.
With a population of 11.5 million, Belgium has the second-highest mortality rate per 100,000 people in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the pandemic.
However, comparisons with other countries may be somewhat misleading, as some are believed to be under-reporting deaths and infections.
The last time Belgium reported no deaths was on 9 March, according to health authorities . That was just days before the country’s lockdown came into effect on 14 March.
Some of those social-distancing measures have been eased in phases since mid-May, when new coronavirus infections started to level off.
Since then, the curve of coronavirus infections has been flattened considerably in Belgium, where a total of 62,781 cases have been recorded to date.

US row over reopening schools continues

A new Axios-Ipsos poll shows most US parents are afraid of sending their kids back to school even as the Trump administration continues to insist schools ought to reopen in the autumn.
Majorities in both political parties and 71% of all parents polled say it would be risky to send their children back to school.
President Trump has threatened to cut federal funding to schools if they don't resume classes.
In Texas, where cases are rising, Republican Governor Gregg Abbott's plan to restart in-person schooling has been criticised by some educators.
The Houston Federation of Teachers called the plan "unacceptably vague and hardly adequate", and said schools should opt for virtual learning until it was safe to begin a phase reopening.
"It is the height of hubris that the governor is more focused on opening the economy than on the health and well-being of our children and the people who educate them."
Steven Poole, head of the United Educators Association in Texas, pointed out many staff or their family members had health conditions that put them at serious risk from the virus, saying: "While parents are given options to send their children to school or stay home for virtual instruction, teachers and staff do not have that option."

UK death toll rises by 138

The number of people who have died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus has increased by 138 to 44,968, according to the Department of Health and Social Care .

Most Canadian cancer patients see treatment delays - survey

A new survey by the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) has found that more than 50% of Canadians have had cancer treatments or tests delayed because of Covid-19.
The survey found patients waiting for confirmation of a cancer diagnosis or the recently diagnosed were most affected by the disruption in care.
Virtual consults were feasible for 83% of those polled, but 71% reported concerns about accessing treatments and tests in-person - and 15% said they had surgeries or procedures cancelled.
The CCSN says the government should make sure cancer treatments are a priority in future public health crises.
CCSN chief Jackie Manthorne said: "Cancer can’t wait. It can’t be cancelled or postponed. We now know that the huge physical, psychological and financial impact of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, while also facing cancer, has put these Canadians in double jeopardy."

More lockdowns reimposed in Spain and India

With coronavirus outbreaks still flaring up far and wide, communities that have endured so much already during the pandemic are coming to terms with the return of lockdowns.
The Spanish region of Catalonia and the Indian state of Bihar are the latest places to reimpose restrictions after a spike in cases.
Around 160,000 residents of Lleida, a city in north-eastern Catalonia, are to be quarantined for 14 days under an order issued by authorities in the region.
The Catalan government said the rules, which needed the approval of a judge, would ban people from leaving their homes for non-essential activities.
Meanwhile in Bihar, a 16-day state-wide lockdown will be imposed by the government from 16 July.
Lleida and Bihar join a growing number of places where localised lockdowns are being announced as infections rise. They include, but are not limited to:

  • The state of California in the US
  • Bangalore, a city in southern India
  • Tehran, the capital of Iran
  • Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China
  • Morocco's northern city of Tangiers
  • Colombian capital Bogotá
  • Melbourne, Australia’s second-biggest city

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jul 14 2020, 20:41

Outbreak across US in graphics

As we told you earlier, infections have risen rapidly in about 40 of America's 50 states over the last two weeks, according to an analysis by Reuters news agency.
Southern states like Florida and Texas in particular have become the new epicentres of the outbreak in the country - as the graphic below shows.
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The US has the world's highest numbers of confirmed cases and deaths - there are currently more than 3.3 million reported infections and over 135,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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Where are cases still rising?

Our colleagues at the Visual and Data Journalism Team have been tracking the pandemic, and these charts help us understand the impact of the virus on different continents.
The graphic below shows how cases are rising fast in the Americas. This is being partially driven by the outbreaks in the US and Brazil, the world's hardest-hit countries.
Meanwhile countries in Africa are also seeing a spike in infections
Coronavirus - 14th July Ad8c3f10

The graphic below shows the countries where deaths have been rising fast. Brazil is particularly bad hit, with an average of 1,000 daily deaths - and you can find out more here.
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Blackburn residents urged to act to avoid Leicester-style lockdown

Emergency measures have been introduced in Blackburn and Darwen in a bid to avoid a Leicester-style local lockdown .
People are being urged to abide by new, stricter guidance, in a bid to bring the number of coronavirus cases down, and are warned a tighter, Leicester-style local lockdown will follow if it doesn't work.
The measures include:

  • Wearing cloth face coverings in all enclosed public spaces, including workplaces, libraries, museums, health centres and hair and beauty salons
  • Targeted testing, with residents being told they do not need to have symptoms to be tested
  • Tighter limits on visitors from another household - no more than two people at a time
  • People asked to bump elbows in place of handshakes and hugs with those outside of their immediate family,

Health officials have warned that if infection rates continue to rise after two weeks the local authority will "have to consider reversing some of the national lockdown lifting measures locally".
Blackburn with Darwen's public health director, Prof Dominic Harrison, said: "These steps will help and we are appealing to everyone in Blackburn with Darwen to follow them to protect themselves and their loved ones.
"If we don't, a local lockdown, like in Leicester, becomes a very real possibility."
Mass testing began in the area at the weekend after 61 new cases sprang up within a week.
Figures show Blackburn with Darwen now has 41 new cases per 100,000 - up from 29.5.
Leicester, where a local lockdown has been imposed , has seen the rate fall from 156.8 per 100,000 in the seven days to 26 June, to 114.3 per 100,000 in the seven days to 10 July.
The place with the second-highest rate in England is in Pendle, Lancashire, where the rate has gone up from 14.2 to 67.8 per 100,000.

How to stop your glasses steaming up while wearing a mask

The rules around wearing face coverings in shops in England are changing, and people in Scotland and other European cities are already advised to wear them in enclosed public spaces.
But if you wear glasses you will know that the two things can be a tricky combination - with the mask causing your breath to mist up the lenses.
Here are three simple tips for stopping the steam.
(Don't worry, one of them isn't "wear contact lenses".)

Thieves in South Africa steal whisky after alcohol ban

Two days after South Africa reinstated a ban on alcohol to curb the spread of coronavirus, thieves have broken into a liquor store in Cape Town.
"They basically emptied the whiskies out," Mark Kallend, shop owner of Liquor Bothasig, told News24 about the incident early on Tuesday morning.
"They ripped the safety gate off with their vehicle... they tied a rope around it and yanked it off. They then threw a boulder through the window," he said.
Bottles of wine and brandy were left untouched, he added.
Kallend said the incident showed how desperate people were.

Measures and masks: World round-up

The coronavirus continues to spread across the Americas, with the US and Brazil, the world's hardest-hit countries, still cause for concern.
In the US, southern states like Florida and Texas in particular have become the new epicentres of the outbreak there. California, the most populous state, has reimposed restrictions on businesses and public spaces amid a spike of coronavirus infections.
In Latin America, there are worries that ill-equipped hospitals will not be able to cope as more infections are reported.
The Colombian capital Bogotá has joined a growing list of places where lockdowns are being reintroduced because of a surge in cases. They also include the Indian city of Bangalore, Iranian capital Tehran and Hong Kong, as well as Melbourne, Australia’s second-biggest city.
Meanwhile, in France, President Emmanuel Macron said he was in favour of making face masks compulsory in public indoor spaces to curtail the virus, adding such a measure could come into force from 1 August.
Around the world, there have been more than 13 million confirmed coronavirus cases with around 570,000 deaths.
You can find out more about the pandemic around the world here

Evening UK news round-up

Good evening to those of you who are just joining us.
Here's a round-up of some of the main UK news stories from today:

Goodbye for now

And with those round-ups, we’re pausing our live coverage for the time being. Thanks for joining us, wherever you were in the world.

Contributors to today’s live page were: Jim Todd, Martha Buckley, Hugo Bachega, Ritu Prasad, Alex Therrien, Victoria Bisset, Alice Evans and Joshua Nevett.
We’ll be back on Wednesday to bring you the latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from the UK and around the world.

    Current date/time is Wed Jan 20 2021, 03:45